The SUNY Plattsburgh volleyball team finished a pair of matches last Saturday at the Canton Tri-Match, leaving with one win and one loss.
The Cardinals first topped Elmira College 3-0 (25-12, 25-15, 25-16) and came close but lost to SUNY Canton, 2-3 (27-25, 25-23, 18-25, 22-25, 14-16).
Junior Alyssa Rock said the match with Canton had a heartbreaking fifth set where the Cards had the lead but Canton caught up and stole the game.
“We needed something like that to happen in order to realize what we need to do for the rest of the season,” Rock said. “Because of that, we had a really good week of practices.”
Head coach Matthew Lein said the team needs to learn from the matches and play more consistently.
“We have a phrase here, we either win or we learn,” Lein said.
After the matches last week, Lein said Plattsburgh State gained more motivation coming in for practices this week as they will be facing tough conference opponents next week.
Rock also said some of her teammates were bothered by the outcome of the game with Canton, but she felt the team realized that they need to bring in more excitement. She believes the team should play to win instead of trying not to lose.
A special element of the training, Rock said, is at the beginning of their daily practice. Everyone has to yell out their personal goal for the day. At the end of practice, they will conclude on how they did.
“My biggest motivation for the [personal goal for the day] is that they focus on one particular thing throughout the entire practice instead of just going into practice focusing on five different things,” Lein said. “I think they do more specific work towards that one goal.”
This has been a tradition for the team since Lein started coaching the team. However, Rock said after the match last weekend, it opens up more possibilities and new goals for her and the team to work on themselves in order to contribute to the team.
Rock also said setting goals for every practice makes sure everyone is focusing and not just practicing for practice’s sake. With everyone knowing each other’s goal, Rock said they could encourage each other when they achieve their goals.
Lein said the team is doing a lot of 6×6 for their practice to figure out how they can be more consistent. He also said he tries not to put his expectations on the team anymore. He hopes the team can hold themselves to high standards and play the best they can.
He also believes playing against a better opponent does increase the team’s motivation to perform. He said all the matches they play mean something but conference matches are the most important thing for the team.
“After having a tough weekend and very serious practices all week, I think that last weekend made us realize that we can give more than what we have been giving,” Rock said.
Rock said for the coming match, the team wants to show more excitement. She also said they noticed that with every point Canton won, they cheered as if they won the game. She said Lein wants the team to have that spirit for every game they play.
“It’s always frustrating to lose matches, I think that always creates some tensions. We may lose, but I think they know it’s about all of us. We constantly preach team unity and that we are all one team,” Lein said. “It’s no one person’s loss, it’s always a team loss.”
The team will be hosting the Dig Pink match against Norwich University next Wednesday to support the cause for breast cancer awareness.